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Clear The Deck!
Aircraft Carrier Accidents Of World War II

by Cory Graff

Specialty Press

 

S u m m a r y

Title and Author:

Speciality Press
Clear The Deck! Aircraft Carrier Accidents Of World War II

by Cory Graff

ISBN: 978-1-58007-119-8
Media: 132 pages in a 9” x 9” soft cover with text and 207 black and white photos, most of which have never been published before.
Price: USD$16.95 plus postage available online from Specialty Press
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Interesting text and photos covering all the major U. S. Navy Carrier Battle and the aircraft involved.
Disadvantages:  
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Glen Porter


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FirstRead

 

 

 

I defy anyone, on seeing the cover of this book, to NOT pick it up and flip through it. It has an F6F Hellcat coming in to land but he's too low and has been waved off. He's still patially below the flight deck and almost over the round-down, left wing down, climbing desperately and the LSO (Landing Signals Officer) is running for his life.

Wow, good stuff, and the whole book is like this with captions on every picture with all the relivant details.

This new book from Specialty Press, "Clear The Deck! Aircraft Carrier Accidents Of World War II", is set up as six main chapters from Prelude to War through Carrier Clash, New Blood, The Turkey Shoot, The Finale and ending with Post War. With-in these six are smaller sub-chapters on the aircraft involved and other subjects.

Chapter 1, Prelude to War. This covers the first take-offs and landings on warships just after the First World War by Eugene B. Ely and the general attitude to naval flying. The first Carrier, CV-1, USS Langley and the subsequent construction of Lexington and Saratoga, built on Heavy Cruiser hulls. The disappointing Ranger followed, too small and not well thought out and then the Enterprise and Yorktown, launched in 1936 and judged by most sailors and airmen alike to be “Just Right”. With in this chapter are many period photos of the ships and some of the less successful flights. A sub-chapter, Too Little and Too Late, details the aircraft on these Carriers as the USA entered the war. Aircraft like the Douglas TBD Devastator and Brewster Buffalo were thought to be top notch when they entered service but were not able to defend themselves against the far superior Japanese aircraft and their highly trained pilots.

Chapter 2, Carrier Clash. From Pearl Harbor to the Coral Sea Battle and Midway, the turning point, the tactics employed and the mistakes made by both sides. Tough Old Bird, a sub-chapter on what else, the F4F Wildcat. It did the job when they had nothing else. Two other sub-chapters, The Turkey on the Grumman Avenger and Slow But Deadly covering the Dauntless complete this chapter.

Chapter 3, New Blood. The end of 1942 and the beginning of 1943 saw both side denuded of Carriers. In the Pacific, the US only had the Enterprise and Saratoga and when the Big “E”  went in for repares, leaving only Saratoga, they had to “Borrow” HMS Victorious from the Royal Navy. The Japanese where in much the same situation but the US had the industrial capasity to replace the ships and aircraft they had lost. And replace them they did. A subchapter, The Pussycat is of coarse on the F6F Hellcat, one of the new bread. Incredibly, during 1943, the US commissioned an Essex class Carrier every 52 days and an Independence class every 40 days. Another sub-chapter, Escort Carriers in the Atlantic shows that the “Jeep Ships” on anti-submarine duties were seeing plenty of action too.

Chapter 4, The Turkey Shoot. No need to explain what this is all about. With the arrival of the new Carriers and aircraft such as the SB2C Helldiver (sub-chapter, The Beast) and the long awaited F4U Corsair (sub-chapter, Hose Nose) the Americans were in no mood to be trifled with but still there were many accidents (sub-chapter, The Landing).

Chapter 5, The Finale. With the defeat of the Japanese Carrier Force, the biggest threat the the Allies as they island hopped towards the Japanese mainland, was the Kamikaze, both aircraft and ships. Detailed in this chapter is the efforts taken to defeat the Kamikaze aircraft by using Picket Ships for early warning. Many still got through but not enough to make a difference. However, the world's biggest Battleship, the 72,800 ton Yamato, was also sent on a one-way mission, the idea being to beach her-self on the near-by landing beach creating an un-sinkable gun emplacement. Fortunately, Yamatos small force was spotted well before it arrived and masses of US carrier borne aircraft were sent against it with the inevitable out-come. Three sub-chapters are included in this section, Earning Wings, teaching the young servicemen to fly with out sacrificing the quality of instruction and Over The Side, clearing the decks of damaged aircraft to allow others to land. The last is Weathering The Storm. In the last phase of the war in the Pacific, the US fleet had to go through two Typhoons. As well as several ships lost, many aircraft were also lost, no matter how well they were lashed down, something would always break loose. Imagine a Hellcat-turned-battering ram on a crowded flight deck and the damage it could do.

The last chapter, chapter 6, Post-War. In the last year of the war, there were 3.5 million in the US Navy. Two years on, there only 500,000. A fleet of over 100 Aircraft Carriers was cut down to 25 in one year. The war weary Saratoga and Independence were used in the atomic tests at Bikini Atoll with surplus aircraft stacked on their decks just to see what effect an A-bomb would have on them. Many aircraft were simply pushed off the flight deck because it was easier than taking them home. More were placed in scrap yard waiting to be cut up and disposed of. Still there were accidents simply because flying off and landing on a Carrier is dangerous stuf even in peace time. The last sub-chapter in the book is Forgotten Fighters. The Grumman F7F Tigercat and F8F Bearcat were too late to see war service but were better than any fighters before them and it was only the on-set of the jet age that saw them disappear so quickly from Naval service.

 

 

Conclusion

 

This book is so interesting and easy to read that even if your generally not interested in US Navy flying, it is still worth having and the photographs are spectacular.

Highly Recommended.

 

Thanks to Specialty Press for the review sample

Review Copyright 2008 by Glen Porter
This Page Created on 24 June, 2008
Last updated 24 June, 2008

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